We Must Remember Their Names By Rabbi Ari Ballaban


The Israeli poet “Zelda” Schneurson Mishkovsky wrote the following well-known poem:


Each of us has a name given by God

and given by our parents


Each of us has a name

given by our stature and our smile

and given by what we wear


Each of us has a name

given by the mountains

and given by our walls


Each of us has a name

given by the stars

and given by our neighbors


Each of us has a name

given by our sins

and given by our longing


Each of us has a name

given by our enemies

and given by our love


Each of us has a name

given by our celebrations

and given by our work


Each of us has a name

given by the seasons

and given by our blindness


Each of us has a name

given by the sea

and given by

our death.


   It is important that we take time to know the names of those whose lives are taken from us—the names of the people who are not amongst us because of a world so often lacking in justice. It, of course, isn’t enough to “just” remember a name. Our consciences demand that we do more. Nevertheless, as our Kaddish prayer evidences, remembering the name of the deceased is an important part of what we, as Jews, do to mourn the dead.

   I remain as devastated as ever as I grapple with the fact that dozens of innocent men, women, and children were needlessly slaughtered last month as they prayed in a mosque. Despite this massacre having happened on the other side of the world, there is a real pain that we all experience in our own homes here in Dayton. My heart still hurts, and I am still at a loss about how to respond. I know, though, that at the least, we must remember.

   I encourage you to take a moment to do precisely that-to read one by one through the names of the people our world so recently lost for no reason other than the fact that hate, and racism, and bigotry still exist. There is something both powerful and intimate in uttering a person’s name; I encourage you to breathe new life into these human memories, vocalizing their names in a private moment.


Rabbi Ari Ballaban


These we remember:

Husna Ahmad, 47

Areeb Ahmed, 27

Farhaj Ahsan, 30

Ashraf Ali, 61

Syed Jahandad Ali, 34

Ansi Alibava, 25

Linda Armstrong, 64

Muse Nur Awale, 77

Zakaria Bhuiya, 33

Kamel Darwish, 38

Atta Elayyan, 33

Ali Elmadani, 65

Abdukadir Elmi, 78

Mohammed Omar Faruk, 36

Ahmed Abdel Ghani, 68

Amjad Hamid, 57

Lilik Abdul Hamid, 58

Mohsin Al Harbi, 63

Mojammel Hoq, 30

Mucad Ibrahim, 3

Junaid Ismail, 36

Ozair Kadir, 25

Mohammed Imran Khan, 47

Maheboob Khokhar, 65

Osama Adnan Youssef Kwaik, 37

Haroon Mahmood, 40

Ashraf al-Masri

Salwa Mirwan Mohamad

Sayyad Milne, 14

Hamza Mustafa, 16, and Khaled Mustafa, 44: father and son

Hussein Moustafa, 70

Haji Daoud al-Nabi, 71

Tariq Omar, 24

Musa Vali Suleman Patel, 60

Abdelfattah Qasem, 60

Naeem Rashid, 50, and Talha Rashid, 21: father and son.

Mounir Soliman, 68

Shahid Suhail, 35

Zeeshan Raza, 38, Ghulam

Hussain, 66, Karam Bibi, 63: Husband, wife, and son

Ashraf Ali Razat, 58

Mathullah Safi, 55

Muhammed Abdusi Samad, 66

Hussein Al-Umari, 35

Asif Vora, 58, and Ramiz Vora, 28: father and son.